ED – I wrote this over a year ago and left it in my drafts. I thought it was a bit too petty and it made me sound kinda lame and potentially a little mean to “Neil”. However, when I was cleaning my drafts folder, I reread it and thought parts of it were funny so I figured why not post it. It’s been a long time now and I’m sure Neil has moved on.
Throughout the years on this blog, I have had a couple of haters… Nothing major though, in fact, I can count them on one hand. And they sort of disappear pretty quickly. It had been years since the last one, but this(last) summer I got a fresh slew of hate comments and I went through a lot of emotions I would like to share with you.
When I noticed these comments, at first I was a little hyped. I know this is not healthy on my part but I have this longstanding and probably false impression that only people that matter on some level get haters. I mean if my blog was completely irrelevant then why even bother leaving a comment and if it was boring then they would have cliqued off earlier. Look, I know it’s just random trolls attention-seeking but let me have my little delusions!
Secondly, I was just happy about the engagement. I mean this kid managed to comment on like 8 different posts before the spam filter caught up with them. I keep wanting to say “him”. To be fair the fake name used is Neil Brown which sounds like a dude’s name. In any case, the initial reaction was satisfaction on a purely practical basis. I have to admit at that time, I didn’t really bother to read the comments. After all, these sort of comments are usually all the same and I kind of forgot about it. But the next time I sat down to answer my comments, I finally went through them more carefully.
This set off a new wave of amusement. I’m sounding like a supervillain… Most of the comments were the usual stuff: anime fans suck, if you like the gays yous should be murdered, kill yourself… you know, the classics! Man, I’m sorry if I just verbally assaulted a whole bunch of you without warning. I mean you’re probably used to the internet by now…
So the comments themselves are boring stock replies and don’t make me happy by themselves. I wonder if there’s a hate bot that leaves these and they just programmed a handful of responses. Anyways, boring stuff but the way they were unfortunately (or fortunately for me) used was awesome.
One of the first comments I read seemed to be aimed at me “This is why anime fans are the worst”. By itself a common and possibly even justifiable sentiment. But it was left on my yearly post about KyoAni. A short retrospective of the tragedy followed by a more hopeful short opinion piece about how the studio is doing two years later and how it managed to rebuild. In sum, the post was openly against burning people to death and pro rebuilding after a tragedy. It didn’t mention anime fans except for the fact that Kyoto Animation had received a lot of donations from all over the world and the only anime mentioned was Dragon Maid in which I only stated that it was airing this season which was pretty big step for the studio.
The comments were full of similar thoughts and support.
So if I overthink this and take it in context: Neil is either pro burning people alive (the scary answer may be yes, stay tuned for that) or against businesses rebuilding and the free market or something. Since the comments were supportive of the studio, if that’s what convinced him we are the worst, I have to assume Neil doesn’t like businesses. More likely he didn’t read the post and just leaves this comment on all anime blogs but I like to think that Neil here, is a staunch pro arsonists who is disgusted at the idea of people supporting a business resuming operations. Because if I stretch that interpretation enough it makes him sound like a communist and I like to think of Neil as a communist arsonist. He also called me honey a lot so I’m thinking middle-aged southern communist arsonist. In my mind, Neil wears an ornate straw hat with a large flower on it and offers people sweet tea a lot, but throws it in your face if you talk about how much you enjoy a purchase you made recently.
With this image in mind. I saw that Neil went on a tirade of telling people in my comments as well as me to kill ourselves. All these comments have the same form, You think “this”, kill yourself. Mine was You think gays are good, yeah kill yourself. Foovay got this wonderful reply to a pretty innocent comment: You think the word is getting better you should kill yourself. To which the only possible answer is, why would she kill herself if the world is getting better? Either logic or the English language is a bit of a challenge here. Which doesn’t change much about the image I had of Neil except that now he was also sad and occasionally crying while sipping his sweet tea. You know, because the world is not getting better. Emo southern communist arsonist.
After a while though, I got a bit tired and the amusement turned to actual wonder. If we take Neil Brown at face value, he is an anime hater who thinks the world would be better served through mass suicide. However, he also seemingly spends time not only looking up and finding anime-specific blogs. You don’t just randomly stumble in here and I don’t advertise anywhere, this took effort. And after that wastes even more time commenting on a slew of unrelated posts, with no actual message to give.
Neil isn’t telling us what to change, except of course the killing ourselves bit, he isn’t advertising anything, he isn’t expressing any outrage other than being mad at the world getting better… I have a lot of fellow anime bloggers that I love. They enjoy anime content and seek it out because it’s something they want to do for themselves. They are also nice to me so they might read my blog cause they are sweethearts. Not one of them would leave as many comments as Neil did… I have rarely inspired this type of dedication, and the goal is completely nebulous.
After all this, I finally started to feel a little sad. OK, sadness may be too strong a word but something like a light ethereal bummed outness. Like I said before, I realize this is a rando troll just leaving the types of comments they think might get a reaction. Or potentially even a bot. For shits and giggles and all that. It ain’t that deep bro. But it also means that this is the best Neil could come up with. Whether it’s a bot or not. Bot or not is fun to say!
This poor kid (and/or programmer), not only doesn’t have anything more interesting to do with his life than to seek out a tiny blog he has no interest in and leave irrelevant comments on posts he doesn’t read, but even the comments he does leave just kind of suck. No one was hurt or outraged. I didn’t even bother to take off the ones directed at readers because they were too innocuous to do damage. And I can’t imagine Neil got any satisfaction out of it. They were pretty much ignored or simply told to politely fuck off without ceremony.
Now trolling is an artform. It can be creative or at least well done. You can troll a person in such a way that it’s interesting and conceivably fun. At least for some of the people involved. I’m not saying you should troll by the way, it probably will make you not a great person, but it is possible to troll well. You can also troll in a way that’s entertaining even for those that are only witnessing it. And you can also actually hurt people if that’s what gets you all hot and bothered. There have been comments on this blog that have bothered me a lot. I don’t talk about them because I feel like that would bring them more attention and make them more real or something, but there have been some.
These were not in that category. Once you strip everything away, they were just not very good troll comments. And that’s kind of sad, you know?
I will admit, I partly wrote this post cause I’m in a bit of an idea slump right now and I didn’t know what to write about. I also wrote it because I’m kind of curious if any of my fellow anime bloggers got some juicy Neil Brown comments in late July/ early August last year. I want to know if he got better at it. He sort of just stopped commenting abruptly and I was wondering if he read a post where I talk about my girlfriend and choked himself clutching his pearls too tightly. I’m a little worried you guys.